The core of the Agrarian Studies Program’s activities is a weekly colloquium organized around an annual theme. Invited specialists send papers in advance that are the focus of an organized discussion by the faculty and graduate students associated with the colloquium.
This topic embraces, inter alia, the study of mutual perceptions between countryside and city, and patterns of cultural and material exchange, extraction, migration, credit, legal systems, and political order that link them.
It also includes an understanding of how different societies conceive of the spatial order they exhibit. What terms are meaningful and how are they related?: e.g., frontier, wilderness, arable, countryside, city, town, agriculture, commerce, “hills,” lowlands, maritime districts, inland. How have these meanings changed historically and what symbolic and material weight do they bear?
Sam Hege is a postdoctoral associate in the Program in Agrarian Studies at Yale University. He received his Ph.D. and MA in History from Rutgers University-New Brunswick and a B.A. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His research broadly examines the entangled histories of the environmental justice movement, the politics of water, and the rise of industrial agriculture in the U.S. West. His current book project, “The Winds of Money”: Race, Work, and Water in the Texas Panhandle, 1900-1980, argues that the privatization of groundwater and the creation of precarious labor markets fundamentally interlinked the U.S. Sunbelt political economy and the American diet during the mid-20th century.
Outside of this research project, Sam has worked on multiple public and digital humanities projects. He has contributed to the Climates of Inequality exhibit, The Public History Project, and the New Jersey Council for the Humanities’ Democracy Conversations Project. He is currently serving as project manager for Voices from the System of Essex County, an oral history project which foregrounds the perspective of those who have navigated the foster care system to deepen public understanding of the connections between this system and structures of racial inequality.